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History and Economy Murchison

For thousands of years the Murchison has been home to many different Indigenous groups. These groups are collectively known as the Yamaji People. Much of the traditional customs and knowledge of the Yamaji People has been lost as a result of dispossession of their homelands. The culture of the Yamaji People has been slowly eroded by the dominance of the western culture, however, the spirit and identity of these people still remains very strong.

In the early 1800s European exploration and settlement of the subregion began. On his voyage to the Shark Bay region and subsequent journey to Perth, Lieutenant George Gray named and explored many of the coastal geographical features. By the 1850s pastoralism, agriculture and mining industries had begun to establish. In the late 1880s gold prospectors sought fortune in the Murchison gold rushes.

Today the major towns of the Murchison are Leinster, Leonora, Meekatharra, Mount Magnet, Laverton, Cue and Wiluna. The main economic activities of the region include mining, agriculture, fishing and tourism.

Meka Carbon Sampling - TWiley

Meka Carbon Sampling. Photo taken by T. Wiley

The subregion's most valuable industry is the mining sector. Resources that are being mined in the region include gold, coal, iron, mineral sands, copper, lead, zinc, magnesite, nickel, talc, uranium, vanadium and titanium.

Agriculture is also an important industry in the Murchison. Agricultural industries include cereal and legume crops e.g. wheat, lupins and canola, livestock e.g. cattle, sheep, pigs and goats, horticulture and aqaculture.

The Murchison subregion is a popular tourist destination. Visitors to this region make an important contribution to the regions local economy.

This subregion also has a strong manufacturing sector. Most of the manufacturing businesses are focussed on servicing the agriculture, mining and fishing industries.